For a while now, I’ve suspected something wasn’t quite right with the look of King of Fighters XII. Sure, I’ve ranted on and on about how the system they’ve put in place is less interesting to me than those of the other three most recent 2D KOF games, but what I’m talking about today is the actual look of the game – namely the sprites.

If you put screenshots from the two major high definition 2D fighters – BlazBlue and KOF XII – next to each other, one thing immediately becomes clear. The KOFXII sprites look incredibly pixelated compared to their BlazBlue brethren. If you don’t believe me, here are a couple of shots that you can tab between in your browser and verify for yourself:

BlazBlue shot

KOF XII shot

This was explained away in an earlier interview as SNKP preferring the ‘dot art’ look for their sprites. That didn’t really make sense to me, though – it’s possible to get the ‘KOF’ look for a high-resolution sprite without it looking incredibly pixelated. For instance, look at Akatsuki Blitzkampf, a game that runs at 640×480. At their native resolution, the sprites look sharp and don’t have the same problem KOF XII’s do.

My suspicions were only multiplied when I found out that the home port would have a filter option for the sprites. Why on earth would you need to apply a filter to sprites that were designed to be displayed at 720p? Sure, games like Guilty Gear XX have had soft filter options for whatever reason but they didn’t really need them.

As it turns out, I really should have just applied Occam’s razor and come to the obvious conclusion – the sprites were never drawn to be displayed at 720p to begin with.

SNKP launched a new site today lauding the awesomeness of the dot art approach they’re taking with KOF XII. One of the features is a dot art gallery that lets you see the new sprites in action. This gallery lets you view the sprites at 100%, 200% and 400% zoom.

This is the Kyo sprite on the website displayed at 100% zoom:


Compare that to the Kyo sprite that we can see in the screenshot I linked above – it’s a lot smaller. In fact, the in-game sprite seems to line up more or less with the website sprite displayed at 200% zoom. The logical conclusion, therefore, is that the KOF XII sprites are in no way drawn at HD resolution (in this case 720p).

You might think this isn’t a really big deal to be making a fuss about, but honestly, from playing games like KOF XI, NeoGeo Battle Coliseum and Melty Blood that use low-res sprites on high-res backgrounds, the difference is honestly very visible and very jarring. If they weren’t going to draw these sprites with HD resolutions in mind, they should have just gone with a 480p game and made that look awesome.

Heck, that way they could probably have put it on a cheaper board, and might have even been able to put in all the stuff they had to cut. Like all the interesting mechanics and half the roster.

8 thoughts on “SNKP does my work for me”
  1. Also, btw, KOF12 looks absolutely gorgeous and smooth when it zooms out, Fatal Fury style. Unfortunately, it hardly ever zooms out (the players have to be each at the ends of the stage).

  2. Your BB shot needed more Rachel ;_;

    I thought I was the one that thought KOF XII had something weird, but I could never figure out what was it.

  3. Oh wait… did SNKP just discover what ArcSys did back in 2000… and only scaled it to 720p?


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